How did Zebras Children And Adults Charity Begin?
The Organisation was originally founded by two parent carers Harriet Piercy & Jamie Ashton through their son's own difficult personal circumstance. Joshua was diagnosed with Autism and Learning Disabilities when he was 8 years old, after battling many years to find answers; this being a very late diagnosis.
They withdrew their son from mainstream school when he was just 5 years old as unfortunately his difficulties were not recognised - his condition was just put down as bad behaviour.
Home- schooling their son proved beneficial and the only solution to their circumstance; having experience in home- schooling their older children this option seemed only natural.
However they both quickly realised that there was nowhere they could take their Son to enjoy activities, whereby his parents could stay with him and where he would be accepted without prejudice or judgement; and most importantly where he would feel comfortable and be able to be himself.
Their Son had become increasingly housebound due to his anxieties and the impact that his early years experience had on his well-being. It was at this point that his parents decided to create a place where children like their Son could come together, feel relaxed, and have no pressure or expectation placed upon them ; where parents and carers could get together to share their own unique experiences and support one another.
Zebras Children's Club C.I.C was then formed and opened its doors on Saturday 21st February 2015.
It was originally self funded by the Co- Founders and Directors using the very little money they had and in fact it began with just a few tables , board games and kind donations of toys. This unique club, attracted many families in similar circumstances , all seeking recreational activities for their children.
Over the next two years Zebras Children's Club gained recognition in Enfield North London, holding many fundraising and awareness events, and even gained sponsorship from a local organisation - Metaswitch Networks Ltd and support from the Rotary Club of Enfield Chase and Edmonton, as well as kind donations from the general public.
On the 8th March 2016, Zebras Children's Club C.I.C opened ZAG; ( Zebras adults group) - a recreational group for adults with disabilities, and individuals with Mental Health difficulties; after it became clear to Harriet and Jamie that there was a real need for adult facilities in the local area. ZAG group has also gained valuable recognition, and attendance has continued to rise steadily since it first opened its doors.
It soon became evident to the founders - Harriet and Jamie that Zebras children's Club was restricted by being a community interest company; they believed that their purposes were charitable and the only way to achieve their dream of opening a recreational centre, and providing additional services for people with disabilities was to become a registered charity.
So they put the wheels in motion ... a board of trustees was elected and an application to the Charity Commission was submitted in October 2016. The founders and trustees were delighted when on 10th January 2017 registered Charity status was awarded.
So this is the story of how it all began.
There is still a long way to go for Zebras Children and Adults Charity, however the Founders, Trustees and indeed Joshua are determined to reach their goal!
'Every journey starts with a single step'